Is A Doll’s House is a tragedy?
According to Aristotle’s definition of tragedy, A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen is a tragedy with a serious and complete action. First of all, the clear cause-and-effect chain in the whole plot dramatizes what may happen and “what is possible according to the law of probability or necessity.” Since the doorbell rings and Mrs. Linde visits Nora, the whole chain starts. Then there is no accident or coincidence chain as the role of deus ex machina to change the situation or stop the chain so that “each action leads inevitably to the next.” For example, Mrs. Linde asks help from Nora, so Nora asks Helmer to give Mrs. Linde a job in the bank. Helmer decides to let Mrs. Linde take the place of Krogstad which cause all the following events and leads to Nora’s final door-slam. This conclusion is inevitable that fits “unity of action” by Aristotle’s definition of one of the most important elements in tragedy’s plot. The catastrophic change of fortune of the protagonist – Nora, also contributes the tragic element for this play’s plot. First scene reveals that Nora is a happy and childlike character. We cannot imagine such a woman would have any discontents about her family; however, after a series of events, she finally becomes mature and hates the unreasonable laws as well as her deceptive husband. She eventually slams the door and leaves her children in the last scene. Does she really not love her children? Absolutely she loves them, and I believe that it is a catastrophe for her to leave all her children. Since the audience can envision themselves within the situation, the play generates pity. It also generated fear in anti-feminists in Europe in the late-nineteenth century. This play’s catastrophic feature and the effects on the audience indicate A Doll’s House is a tragedy. In this play, characters also support the tragic plot. For instance, Nora does nothing wrong. She has just tried “to save her husband’s life” (Page 228) as well as...
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